Doctors find cyst on local teen's brain during concussion examination



PITTSBURGH - A bump on her head led a local teen to a surprising and shocking discovery about her health.

Taylor Milligan has been dealing with headaches, vision problems and numbness in her legs, but she ignored her symptoms until one day she bumped her head at work.

“I knew something wasn’t right. I was in a daze for a few minutes,” Milligan said.

Doctors diagnosed her with a concussion, but further tests showed something even more troubling. She had a tiny cyst in the center of her brain.

“I just looked at him and went numb,” Milligan said.

The cyst was blocking the flow of spinal and brain fluid, as well as triggering her headaches and vision problems.

“In rare cases people will actually develop drop attacks and they won’t wake up. They will actually die from having this in their head,” Hillman Cancer Center neurosurgeon Dr. Johnathan Engh said.

Engh said he quickly got Milligan into the operating room in an effort to remove the cyst, a challenging procedure because Milligan was only 19.

“In her case we had a combination of small ventricles, and in a young, healthy brain with a cyst, that makes it even more difficult to appropriately dissect and appropriately remove it,” Engh said.

Milligan said the concussion saved her life and she will no longer ignore medical symptoms.

“It was a blessing that I even got the concussion because I would have had no idea,” Milligan said.

Milligan has some short-term side-effects from the surgery, but she said she’s healing and looking forward to going back to work next month.